Tag Archives: gender roles

Why Gender Roles Start in the Womb

My friends and I prepared a baby shower this summer. Planning the event involved a lot of frantic Facebook messaging and late-night Google Doc editing, as well as coming up with creative game ideas, such as “Pin the Sperm on the Egg.” We also spent a decent amount of time shopping for baby-related things, which led us to several gender-stereotypical items. Encountering these signals from society made me realize that gender roles really do start from within the womb – or at least they begin early enough to affect children from the beginning of their existences.

Clothing from the girls' section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys' section: the words "Future Legend" and baseballs.

Clothing from the girls’ section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys’ section: the words “Future Legend” and baseballs. Anyone discern a difference in tone?

Studies show that children detect gender differences by the age of three Continue reading

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Why You Shouldn’t Hate Straight White Men

“I’m scared to talk about what’s bothering me,” he said.

“I’m scared to walk back to the dorm at night alone,” she said.

A few months ago, I locked myself in my college’s library to study for final exams. While procrastinating focusing on Social Psychology, I overheard a conversation between a boy and a girl studying in the cubicles to my right.

He shuffled some of his books around. “It’s not a big deal anyway. Every time I try to talk about it with her, I feel weird-,”

“Yeah, well, you should see me every time I go out.” She sighed, either from the stress of finals or the minutiae of her friend’s problem. “If you think you have it bad, try imagining every guy in the room thinking you want it just because you’re wearing a short dress.”

The aspiring therapist inside of me wanted to reach out and console both of them about their issues, but instead, I shook my head, turned up my music, and saved their conversation as material for a future blog post.

Does anyone see how this post actually contributes to equality? Because I don't.

Does anyone see how this post actually contributes to equality? Because I don’t.

I identify as male, so I will not pretend to know what it feels like to be catcalled, paid less for equal performance, or judged just based on my appearance. Continue reading

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You Can’t Be a Princess

It’s not every day you see a video about parents who purge the identities of their children.

When I was a child, I wanted to dye my hair blond.

I wanted, like every child, to explore the possibilities of my person – whether it be my physical or my mental characteristics. I doubt that there’s a single person out there who can honestly say they did not try something new as a child, that they did not crave for change or something exciting. Childhood, in essence, is about discovering the depths of your world, and who and what inhabits it.

I remember telling all of my friends in my fifth grade class that I was going to dye my hair blond. When I got home that day, I looked up at my father, eyes wide, and exclaimed my wish. He looked at me, amused, and told me we would have to ask my mother.

Of course, she shot it down immediately. Continue reading

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Is it Okay for Boys to be Feminine?

Image via itsnature.org.

My favorite animal is the flamingo. Lady Gaga, SNSD, and f(x) are among the top 10 most-listened to artists on my IPod. I cried watching Titanic and love reading chick-lit from authors like Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen.

Am I a bad person? A risk to society? Do I hurt people or cause mayhem wherever I go? Unless my rendition of “Poker Face” really is that bad, then no, I don’t think so. Here’s a story:

The other day I was eating the cupcakes my best friend and I baked at her house. My mom approached me with an angry look on her face.

“What are those?” she asked.

“Cupcakes,” I mumbled through a mouthful of frosting.

“Where did you get them?” she inquired.

“I made them at Sarah’s house,” I said. Big mistake.

“What?” she said, her voice rising,” why? Why weren’t you studying or doing something important?”

“We were just having fun,” I said. I knew she would explode soon.

“Thomas, you’re a BOY,” she exclaimed,” boys don’t waste their time doing stupid things like that! Do you want to get into college? What will people think of you if they find out you bake cupcakes like a little girl? What if they think you’re gay?”

Her angry mood escalated and it only got worse from there. End of story.

Besides the fact that my mom insulted herself through her blatant sexism, what she said made me sad. I admit it. This doesn’t even come close to the time she asked me if I needed to see a doctor because I gesticulated like a girl (this was when I was ten or eleven… now I’m careful with my body language around her), but still. It hurt.

The delicious cupcakes my best friend and I made. I don't regret baking them at all.

I’m sensitive, but I’m not stupid. Boys should be allowed to knit sweaters, practice yoga, and even cross-dress if they want. Heck, they can gather plants and herbs like women did during the Paleolithic Era for all I care. It’s not like we’re going to cause an apocalypse by not conforming to faulty gender roles forced upon us by society.

When I first thought of writing this post a couple of days ago I didn’t intend it to be this emotional, but after reading this, I couldn’t stop myself. What kind of cruel parent condemns their child for being who they are? I would rather just not have children than make them suffer in such a horrible way.

Instead of answering “Is it okay for boys to be feminine?”, let me raise another question.

Is it okay for people to be themselves?

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